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What to do about mandatory recycling.

Let me quote from a recent New York City Department of Sanitation publication: "New York City generates up to 30,000 tons of trash daily - about one ton per person every year! We are facing a serious garbage crisis; our landfill is nearing capacity, and it is becoming difficult and costly to dispose of our trash out-of-state."

After decades of talk and calls for change, recycling has become mandatory. Local Law 19, the, mandatory recycling law which was enacted in 1989, is being introduced in the following four phases:

11/29/91 Recycle: Phase I

*High-grade office paper

*Corrugated cardboard (not smooth)

*Metal, including cans, foil products, and bulk items such as file cabinets

*Construction waste

5/29/92 Recycle: Phase II




*Glass bottles and jars

11/29/92 Recycle: Phase III

*Plastic containers

5/29/93 Recycle: Phase IV

*Film plastic such as shrink wrap, dry cleaning bags, and grocery bags

The impact these regulations will have on you and the operations of your company depend on the actions of your building manager. There are several options in recycling, available both to you and to your building manager: source separation, post-collection separation, and a combination of the two.

Source separation is the most labor intensive on the part of your staff but produces the most valuable recyclable materials as there is minimal contamination. If you produce enough recyclable material, you might be able to sell it to one of the companies that purchases large volumes of such materials, and at the same time you may be able to negotiate lower waste removal charges for the rest of your waste because of the smaller volume. In order to generate the volume of material required, it may be necessarily to cooperate with other building tenants.

Post-collection separation leaves the job to your garbage hauler. Local Law 19 requires local carters to separate recyclables from trash if their customers choose not to. This is something that your carter may have been doing for years already because it has been profitable to do so.

By combining the two methods, you elect to recycle some required materials, such as high-grade office paper, while leaving all other separation to others. No matter which option you choose, you should offer to separate food and other wet waste in order to reduce the contamination of the remaining trash.

The choice you make may depend upon the space you have available within your office. It also may depend upon the motivation of your employees. It is not uncommon, however, to discover that source separation is popular with employees who feel it is a simple way to do a "good deed." You should also be aware that although at the present time private carters are not allowed to charge extra for post-collection separation if you are already paying the maximum rate per unit of volume for waste collection, it is anticipated that the rate structure may be changed to allow for the greater cost of post-collection separation.

And remember, buying products made from recycled materials - and many such office products are available - is just as important as recycling because it increases the market for recycled products and provides further support for the recycling effort.

Reprinted from the firm's newsletter.
COPYRIGHT 1992 Hagedorn Publication
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1992, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:Aug 19, 1992
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